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Thoughts About Drug Use and Abuse

There was this controversial ad campaign that came out in the late 1990s or early 2000s; I’m not one hundred percent certain when it exactly came out. Anyway, these ads went up all over the city where I was living at the time, portraying an alcohol bottle with a needle on the end of it. The ad campaign claimed that alcohol was a gateway to drug abuse. People were pissed about the ads and the campaign was eventually pulled.

I don't completely understand the use of hard drugs.
Pile of Pills

Yeah, alcohol itself could be considered a drug, and it is addictive, but only in a small percentage of people does it lead to harder drugs. Most of those people are already wired for addiction, anyway, and are more likely than other people to try hard drugs in the first place. Really when you think about it, it is hard to tell whether the alcohol led to the harder drugs or they would’ve tried them, anyway.

That’s not saying alcohol doesn’t have problems. It has major ones. I remember Mom talking about the changes that alcohol brought to the music scene in the 1960s. She said that the music festivals she attended included drug use, mostly marijuana and hallucinogens, and they were peaceful and enjoyable. When she and Dad attended a concert in 1971, where alcohol was suddenly added to the mix, they left because they were turned off by the fights, profanity, and violence.

As I said, alcohol can be addictive to some people. You can use and abuse it just like any other drug. There are twelve-step programs out there to help people with alcoholism, sometimes referred to as alcohol use disorder. People have literally drank themselves to death, either from cirrhosis of the liver or from actual alcohol poisoning.

I get it to an extent. Alcohol numbs the senses and mind. It can be an escape from intrusive thoughts or chronic pain. But is it really a good escape? If you have depression, it’s only going to make it worse. And unless you keep drinking, the pain and intrusive thoughts are only going to come back. Meanwhile, your liver and kidneys pickle and your cancer risk goes up. I don’t think it’s worth it.

Don’t get me started on drunk drivers. I consider drunk driving one of the most selfish acts you can commit. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, you’re risking the lives of others, both inside and outside of your vehicle. If you drink and drive, I have no pity for you. Just like I have no sympathy for people who do stupid things while under the influence of alcohol. It’s never an excuse!

But let’s move on to hard drugs. I’ve never tried hard drugs and I never intend to. No meth or heroin or cocaine for me! Dad used to say that his friends called cocaine “instant asshole” because of how it made people act, and the effects of the drug were sometimes permanent. This doesn’t even cover the nasal erosion and the future heart problems that are linked to the drug.

I really don’t get it in this case. This is probably because of a past experience of mine, which occurred when I was thirteen years old. It wasn’t a hard drug, it was a dose of a common antihistamine, but it affected me the same way a hard drug can.

I remember being very sad for no reason, then suddenly it was the middle of the night and I was walking alongside a darkened highway in the middle of nowhere. Some of you may know this story from a previous blog post. This is where I encountered the howling… thing… in the woods. I am pretty sure it was some kind of animal, but it also could’ve been a drug-induced hallucination. When I got home, I told my parents that I didn’t understand why people would do that to themselves on purpose.

Seriously, why? We all know the dangers of these drugs. Few people today has any excuse, as the facts are everywhere you look. I could see it back in the Sixties, when there was little knowledge on the drugs involved, but today we all know better. We know that meth destroys your brain. We know how addictive heroin is. We are aware of the health effects of cocaine.

It’s more complicated than that, though. Some babies are born addicts because of what their mothers did. Some people are made addicts by others, such as jerks who slip drugs into someone without them knowing. Certain families have addictive tendencies, and children learn the behavior from their drug-addicted parents.

It’s not just the health effects that can get you, either. For those out there who are considering hard drugs and you’re not going to think of yourself, think of the people around you. Let’s look at meth, one of my most hated drugs of all time. This is because it turns people into monsters, and they often stay that way. That weirdo in the park who beat a World War II veteran to death for his wallet? A meth-head looking for his next fix. That family who became homeless because they couldn’t pay rent after their car repairs? Yeah, that was because of the meth addict who stole their catalytic converter. The young woman who almost died because someone slipped the drug into her drink? Yep, you guessed it. Meth.

Meth, PCP, bath salts, flakka. These drugs are dangerous to everyone, not just the user. Bath salts are sometimes referred to as “the zombie drug” because people act like classic horror movie zombies when they take it. When you are addicted to a drug and start hurting yourself to get said drug, you need to seek help for your addiction. When you are attacking and even killing other people because of the drug, you have slipped through a legal crack that is hard to come back from.

I recall Mom’s story from the Sixties at Berkeley. Some guy was trying to get her to try PCP. He said, “If you try this, you’ll never be the same!” Mom and her friend, who was also there, decided this was not a good reason to try the drug. Just remember this story if you ever consider taking these substances. Do you want to be like this man?

It’s true. Users of these drugs are never the same. They become violent and unpredictable. I recall the guy who had some jerk slip PCP into his drink at a bar. He ended up on the roof of a fast food restaurant, where he picked up an air conditioning unit and threw it at the cops. And not one of those little ones, either. This was one of those huge metal boxes.

That’s the scariest thing about an addict of a violent drug, they seem to have a desire to create more addicts. There have been numerous cases where a meth addict has slipped meth to someone else without them knowing, sometimes making their victims addicted to the drug, too.

In case you didn’t catch it earlier, I hate meth. I hate what it does to people. I hate how it hurts people around the addicts. There is nothing glamorous or adventurous about this damn drug! Please stay far away from it!

But is there a drug that I would try? Not a hard one, no. I might try marijuana if it was federally legalized. (I currently work at a job where I can’t use pot because of its federal listing.) Marijuana is not addictive and actually has some health benefits for people with certain medical conditions. The worst it does to one’s personality is making them lazy or really hungry.

I am curious about peyote, but only for spiritual reasons. If I were to use this drug, it would be a one time thing and I would do so under the guidance of a shaman. I would not be using it just to get high; I don’t want to repeat that experience I had when I was thirteen.

I would never try LSD. There are too many side effects involved, and they are unpredictable. One of my cousin’s acquaintances had a bad trip and ended up knocking out all of his front teeth because it seemed like a good thing to do at the time. Yes, a man permanently mutilated himself because of a drug.

As you can see, it’s not a black and white issue. Hard drugs like meth and heroin have no benefits associated with them, but things like marijuana do. There are some studies being conducted on how to use shrooms to help certain mental health disorders. Even cocaine has medical uses. To summarize, it’s a complicated subject, and it would require a whole series of posts to cover it all.

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